Friday, April 4, 2014
By Joe Gorman
A neighbor who lives next door to a Renee Drive man who was shot to death early Thursday said she heard a loud argument and two loud bangs before another person drove away.
Roxanne George lives next to the 145 Renee Drive home of Matthew Molnar, 34. She said she couldn’t sleep and heard Molnar and the person with whom he was living, Matthew Alexander, 26, arguing in his drive about 2:45 a.m., after they came home from an evening out.
George said she heard Molnar scream, “Just unlock my door!”
She said she heard more screaming once they got inside — “as if they were really going at in there. Then I heard two loud booms.”
She said she then saw Molnar’s roommate get into his car, which was parked in front of Molnar’s car in the driveway. He backed out of the drive by driving through her yard, almost hitting her bushes in the process, she said.
Alexander is charged with murder. He waived extradition from Pennsylvania, where police say he drove after the shooting, and was being taken back to the Mahoning County jail Thursday afternoon.
George and her husband, Lou, and daughter, Kim, were outside that morning as agents from the state Bureau of Criminal Investigation collected evidence.
Detective Ray Greenwood said police were not called until about 3:45 a.m. by Southwest Mercer County Regional Police in Farrell, Pa. Alexander was then taken to a Mercer County hospital to be treated for a nondisclosed injury and was being interviewed by detectives there.
Greenwood said Molnar and Alexander were roommates, and that police had never been called to the home before. He said police are not sure why Alexander went to Farrell to turn himself in or what ties he may have there.
Roxanne George said she did not call police because she thought nothing more serious than an argument was going on next door. Greenwood said it is not unusual for neighbors not to call police for an argument unless it goes on for a long time or it is happening outside.
Greenwood said Molnar collected guns and there were fewer than a dozen that investigators have to check to see if one of them was used to kill him. He said police do not have the murder weapon.
The Georges said Molnar was a nice man and he spent a lot of his time with his young son.
“He was a good person. He helps anyone out,” Lou George said. “He was a special guy.”
Kim George said Molnar would put a pool in his backyard every summer and the neighborhood children would come over and swim with his son.
“There were always kids over there,” Kim George said.
Roxanne George said she witnessed part of the argument and saw Molnar rip off his shirt and a gold chain that was around his neck. Both the shirt and the chain were in the driveway as police were processing the crime scene Thursday.
Greenwood said the argument appeared to be a rarity between the two. He said they had come from a night of drinking and things just esclated.
“It was something that just all of a sudden happened,” Greenwood said. “It looked like they were both drinking and it just got out of hand and one thing led to another.”
A check of Mahoning County court records show several traffic offenses for Alexander and a 2009 conviction in county court in Austintown for improper handling of a firearm in a motor vehicle in 2009.
This is the second homicide in Struthers in less than a month. On March 20, police say 23-year-old Justin Slaven was shot and killed by his mother, Leslie Slaven, inside their Seventh Street home. Leslie Slaven also shot herself and died of her injuries March 25 at St. Elizabeth Health Center in Youngstown.
In 2013, the city had one homicide when 14-year-old Teddy Foltz was killed after a beating he received from his mother’s ex-boyfriend. Both the mother and ex-boyfriend pleaded guilty to their roles in the crime and are serving prison sentences.
Before Foltz was killed, the last homicide in Struthers was in August 1992, when a 20-year-old woman was found beaten and strangled in her apartment. Her boyfriend was convicted of the crime and sentenced to 15 to 25 years in prison.